Christmas decorations are now out in malls and high streets, with commuters and shoppers the world over beginning to adopt that glazed festive season look. You know the one – it happens after being utterly overwhelmed with bright flashing lights, screaming children, grinning shop assistants and the thought of entertaining extended family.
But the question ‘How will you be celebrating Christmas and New Year?’ has to be answered. If you’re looking for something a little bit different this year, why not try heading out to a place where the weather is warmer (or cooler), where you aren’t likely to find a traditional turkey dinner, and where you won’t have to pretend to like your new jumper. The silly season is almost upon us, and if you’re thinking of how to escape the madness and enjoy something a bit different this year, take a look at these alternative Christmas destinations.
Warm, sunny weather dominates Egypt during the festive season, making this the ideal place to escape the winter chill of the Northern Hemisphere, or the blistering heat of the Southern Hemisphere. See the legendary pyramids, cruise the Nile in a felucca (or a Nile cruiser) and ring in 2012 by the Red Sea in Dahab.
In Jordan, follow in Indiana Jones’ footsteps as you explore the rose red city of Petra, and enjoy a special New Year’s Bedouin Party with musical entertainment, a lavish New Year’s buffet dinner, party games, fireworks and champagne. The surreal landscape of Wadi Rum could be the ideal spot to wave goodbye to 2011.
Climb the Great Wall on Christmas Day, see China’s famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and then head north to Harbin for the famous Harbin Ice Festival. Held annually since 1963, this festival normally features enormous ice sculptures of some of the world’s most famous landmarks, along with giant icy slippery slides – transforming the area into the ultimate winter wonderland. Take a look at this amazing video!
Break from Western traditions and experience the incredible land of India this Christmas and New Year. See the legendary Taj Mahal, explore delightful Delhi and the pink city of Jaipur, and even go in search of tigers!
Marrakech has a lot to offer the traveller seeking festive refuge. Soak up the magic and mystery of Morocco, with the markets of Marrakech, the changing colours of Todra Gorge and the famous (and much-filmed) fortified Kasbah at Aït Benhaddou. Go trekking in the Sahara desert. Or, get some beach time in at Essaouira. Cuisine is usually high on everyone’s list at this time of year, and in Morocco you won’t be disappointed – the region is famous for top-notch North African cuisine. Why not swap that turkey for a tagine?
Wherever you’re heading for Christmas, we’d love to hear your ideas and tips for how to make this a festive season to remember. Leave your comments below or get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter.